The Executive was informed that all Councils were required to maintain and regularly update a Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register.
Regulations also allowed authorities to set local eligibility criteria in the form of a Local Connection Test (LCT). The Register could then be divided into two parts: Part 1 was for those individuals and associations who meet both the LCT and the national eligibility criteria; Part 2 was for those individuals and associations who did not satisfy the LCT, but met the national eligibility criteria.
In 2015 the Council had introduced a Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register. The Register currently had a total of 76 applicants on Part 1 and 281 applicants on Part 2.
A review of the Local Connection Test had recently been undertaken and had concluded that it should be made more robust to ensure that only those with a strong local connection to the borough were entered onto Part 1 of the Register.
The Executive was informed that national policy provided for authorities to charge an entry fee, which must be proportionate to costs incurred by the Council. A proposed schedule of fees, which was comparable to those introduced by neighbouring authorities, was considered.
Legislation also allowed for the introduction of a Financial Solvency Test to determine if the person applying to be on the Register had the financial ability to purchase land and fund the construction of their project. It was advised that, if the Council did not introduce this test it might end up delivering plots that were not ultimately realised for self and custom build. This would be an inefficient use of time and resources, and could inhibit land being made available for residential development in a timely manner.
(i) the amendments to the Self and Custom Build Register entry requirements, as set out in the agenda report, be agreed;
(ii) the Local Connection Test be revised to ensure a tighter criteria for those applicants who can demonstrate a strong and specific link to the Borough;
(iii) a fee to enter and remain on the register be introduced; and
(iv) a Financial Solvency Test be introduced.